Katie Ligday (’18): Flourishing with an Ave Maria University Education


Katie Ligday (’18): Flourishing with an Ave Maria University Education

When Katie Ligday, a graduate of the Class of 2018, reflects back on her time at Ave Maria University, growth emerges a common theme. From her discernment of where to attend college, to her choice of a major, to her campus involvement, Katie’s reflections reveal that she was motivated, pushed, and inspired to grow as a person during her four years at Ave Maria.

As a high school student from St. Mary’s County, Maryland, Katie chose to attend Ave Maria because it was a place where she knew she would flourish and thrive. “I knew…I would grow academically, spiritually, socially, and physically,” she recalls. “I would grow as a whole person. I knew Ave Maria was going to help me become the person God intended me to be.”

Katie entered as a Theology major, with a love for her classes and a passion to learn more about God. “I wanted to grow in my knowledge of Him,” she says simply. When she realized she possessed strong organizational and administrative skill sets, she decided to add a minor in Business Administration. “I discovered that a lot of my talents could be applied to administrative work,” she explains. “It also broadened my skills for potential jobs!”

When she was not pursuing studies, Katie was actively involved in campus life. She was a member of the Daughters of God Household, and served the female students as a Resident Assistant in the residence halls. She regularly attended bible studies, was the Activities Coordinator for Ave for Life (a pro-life club on campus), ran with the Life Runners, and served as a Student Representative for the University’s Strategic Planning Committee.  Katie was also a recipient of the Leadership Scholarship. As a crowning honor, Katie received the President’s Award; the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior in recognition of academic accomplishments, involvement in University life, service to others, and exemplification of the University’s highest Catholic ideals.

Over the last four years at Ave Maria University, Katie Ligday says she was challenged to grow into the person God intended her to be.

“My experience at Ave Maria has been such an amazing one!” she exclaims. “Each semester was filled with new ways to grow and learn about myself. My time here has shaped me personally through time spent in prayer, building relationships with incredible people–students, professors, and staff–and the countless opportunities.” When asked to select one experience as a highlight during her time at Ave Maria, Katie recalled the mission trip to Calcutta, where she served alongside the Missionaries of Charity. “I will never forget this experience,” she states. “I learned how to love in a new way: through action, sacrifice, and silence.”

Looking to the future with joy, Katie will be celebrating her marriage to fellow classmate, Jeffrey Henkel, this summer. After their wedding, the couple plans to settle in Augusta, Georgia.

Congratulations to Katie on her accomplishments over the past four years, and for receiving the 2018 President’s Award.